[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Dec 4 11:52:28 CST 2004
China 'Carried Out Nearly 90 Per Cent of World's Executions'
China carried out nearly 90 per cent of the worlds executions last year,
putting at least 5,000 people to death, according to an activist group
campaigning to end capital punishment.
China is one of 60 countries that still have the death penalty, the
Rome-based group Hands Off Cain said in a report yesterday. It said other
governments carried out more than 500 executions.
Chinas government relies heavily on the death penalty in effort to
reassure the public that it is taking action against corruption and rising
crime. People are executed for crimes ranging from murder and rape to tax
fraud, petty theft and other non-violent offences.
The figure given by Hands Off Cain for Chinas executions is higher than
those reported by other human rights groups.
Amnesty International said in April that China put 726 people to death
last year - nearly 2/3 of all executions reported.
But it said that figure was based on incomplete official information and
the true number was believed to be much higher.
Iran had the 2nd-highest number of known executions worldwide in 2003 with
154, according to Hands Off Cain. It said that as a proportion of its
smaller population, the Islamic Republic "applies capital punishment just
as much as China."
Iraq executed at least 113 people before former President Saddam Husseins
government was toppled on April 9, 2003, the group said. The death penalty
was suspended during the U.S. administration but has been restored by the
interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
Vietnam executed at least 69 people, while the United States put to death
65 people and Saudi Arabia carried out 52 executions, according to Hands
Chinas Foreign Ministry said earlier this year that the country lacked
"conditions to abolish the death penalty." It insisted that Chinese courts
were "prudent in the use" of executions.
China has tried in recent years to improve professional standards in its
courts. But activists complain that penalties are not applied consistently
and that in the midst of anti-crime campaigns, prisoners often can be
sentenced to death for offences that were not capital crimes at the time
they were committed.
Under Chinese law, death sentences are automatically sent for appeal,
though reversals are rare. Chinese executioners use both gun shots and
lethal injection. The courts have reportedly executed prisoners for
offences committed when they were as young as 16.
(source: The Scotsman)
Ghana, 9 Others drop death penalty since 2003 start
A total of 134 countries have given up capital punishment, 10 more than
had done so at the start of 2003, a campaigner against capital punishment
Since the start of 2003, Ghana, Benin, Malawi and Morocco had in effect
abolished the practice by not executing anyone for at least 10 years while
Kazakhstan and Tajikistan had put in place a legal moratorium on the
practice, it said.
Another 4 countries -- Bhutan, Samoa, Bosnia and Armenia -- either
abolished the death penalty or tightened an existing partial ban since the
start of last year, the group reported at a presentation at U.N.
Of the total, 81 have abolished the death penalty completely, 14 have
abolished it for ordinary crimes, one -- Russia -- has pledged to abolish
it, and 6 are observing moratoriums, the Rome-based organization Hands Off
Another 32 countries allow capital punishment but have in effect abolished
it by not carrying out an execution for at least the past 10 years, the
In all, 62 countries retain the death penalty and in 2003 put to death at
least 5,523 individuals, the group said.
One country alone, China, executed at least 5,000 people last year while
Iran put to death at least 154 and Iraq had executed at least 113 people
by April 9, 2003, when the U.S.-led occupation suspended the death
penalty, it said.
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